At ISE this year, huddle space was discussed both on the showfloor and in the conference sessions. The discussions focused on the design of a space, whether a classroom, workspace, store or any other environment in which AV technology plays a key role.
What became clear is that room design is crucial to the effectiveness of how a space is used and if the design and layout is poor, no amount of technology will fix the problem.
This is the reason why AV should be considered at an early stage in a project’s lifecycle, to make sure that the basics are done properly and the space is primed to be brought to life with the support of technology.
In the workspace, room design has been shown to have a significant impact on productivity whatever the size of the space. And with the continued popularity of huddle spaces, it’s important to consider how to make the most of your small spaces by combining specialist furniture and AV equipment to create flexible, effective huddle rooms.
When it comes to room design and layout, there are many aspects to consider. Begin by finding out what the average attendance for meetings will be and build spaces to comfortably accommodate that size. It is difficult to collaborate in cramped spaces or feel comfortable in a small group within a massive space. As huddle spaces are used to allow a small group of employees to meet quickly, they’re unlikely to need space for more than five people.
Although designed for collaboration, it’s important not to dominate a huddle room with a central screen that is too large for attendees to use comfortably. There are various guidelines and ratios that can be used to determine the optimum size for your room, so speak to your integrator about this. Acoustic control is also important especially for collaboration spaces where local and remote attendees will be working together. The room doesn’t have to be a recording studio, but controlling bass, resonant frequencies and echo in larger spaces is important to good quality audio.
In addition, the inclusion of specialised collaboration furniture can improve meetings by facilitating local attendees, helping them feel like equal participants, with enough space and technology access to contribute effectively. Furniture with built in charging points and easy access AV connections and network points will enable users to use their preferred devices and easily share content and ideas.
It’s also important not to forget environmental aspects such as lighting and heating, which is now recognised as being central to the design of a space, with recent academic publications linking optimal lighting fixtures, blinds and temperature to improved concentration, performance and happiness.
By thinking about how a space will be used and designing the layout, environment and technology to meet these needs, a huddle room can be a creative space that encourages teams to work together to reach the best outcomes. Remember, though, that huddle rooms are not just mini boardrooms. The technology, furniture and layout should be tailored towards enabling quick, informal meetings, easy collaboration and useful discussions, not long, structured debates, so look for easy to use tools that offer interactivity, communication and ideas sharing alongside flexible furniture that can integrate with your AV setup.